BAN's World GazetteerAustralia
The Western Australia division of air ambulance operator Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is celebrating 100 retrievals by its Fortescue Heli-Med Service EC145 helicopters. The two helicopters joined the RFDS fleet on 9 May, 2022, the first time helicopters had been used by an RFDS service anywhere in Australia in the company's 94 year history, and have transferred patients from 29 different sites and flown more than 34,000 kilometres.
The helicopters are used to retrieve patients from within a 250 kilometre radius of the RFDS base in Jandakot and can land directly on the helipads at Royal Perth Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Perth Children's Hospital.
RFDS lead rotary doctor John Iliff says the introduction of the helicopters has made a significant improvement in transfer times for patients: “When we land at Jandakot in our fixed wing aircraft, it does require patients to then be taken by ambulance to hospital in Perth. The helicopters take out that journey and get patients to their ultimate destination quicker.”
RFDS WA is the first section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service to use helicopters in Australia. Patients of all ages have been transferred by the helicopters, including three aged under nine years old and three aged over 90.